"Drawing from Memory" by Allen Say

Drawing from Memory, though at first may seem like a children's book, turns out to be a memoir filled with sketches of  Allen Say's early dabbling with the world of cartoon-sketching.

Having been born in Japan, he became an apprentice of one of the most renowned newspaper cartoonist of the time, Noro Shimpei. He attributed Shimpei's dedication and love to him as his ultimate inspiration to become the cartoonist that he is in Oregon today.

Personally, the book reminds me of Tetsuko Kuroyanagi's Totto-Chan, where hues of childhood naivety are imbued every several pages or so. It can leave us inspired, and makes us want to read it to a child in the family....son, niece, or cousin...as the story shows how following inspirations and dreams can make us find our inner callings.

Verdict: 9 out of 10


"From Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima: The War in the Pacific 1941-1945" by Richard Overy

From Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima does what it says on the foreword: showing the readers how the Pacific Theatre of WW2 was actually more brutal than the European Theatre. Unfortunately, Richard Overy's style of the typical history-book-narration can get exhaustive at times...he compiled a list of facts and dates and jumbled them all together that can make us readers find it overwhelming.

Overall, it is an interesting book though. The most fascinating thing about this book is the several copies of the drafts and original letters (such as President Roosevelt's Declaration of War in 1941 and Japan's Instrument of Surrender in 1945), together with the original autographs, scribblings, and annotations that enables readers to witness firsthand "what it feels like" to be holding those original papers directly.

Verdict: 7 out of 10


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